Dear America: New York

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When people ask me when they should visit New York City, I never hesitate to tell them "October or November." Which happens to be right now.

Along the east side of Central Park

When I was a teenager going to school on the Upper East Side, I loved all seasons equally because everything was magical all the time. In the fall, there was the start of school, the changing of the leaves, the early nights and creeping chill. In the winter, there were the snowball fights with school crushes, snow angels, anticipation of a snow day. In the spring, love was inevitably in the air as we all sat outside under the blooming trees in the schoolyard, little petals of pollen sticking in our hair and to our backpacks. There was always romantic drama as May turned to June and summer vacation loomed heavily over us ... and then there was summer, which to me was never the most wonderful time of year. It meant not having any excuses to see my crush, long and weary days spent either at summer school or somewhere doing something that was not remotely close to what I wanted to do, which was hang out with my friends. Imagine that!

Well, summer is still my least favorite season in New York City: it's hot and humid, cramped with very little breathing room. To me now, late fall is the time of year New York City is the most beautiful and the most tolerable. The cold isn't yet unbearable, and there is no humidity to deal with. There is a lull in tourist volume until about Thanksgiving. The sun sets early and masks much of the dirt and grime that daylight strips naked. And the nippiness in the air is just enough to give the city that extra spark of magic and romantic glamour that so many associate with New York City.

So I'm especially sad about leaving New York City in the middle of my favorite season here. I'm going to miss the Christmas markets, the hot apple ciders from farmer's markets, the Christmas decorations at Macy's in Herald Square, the unveiling of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, the way Central Park looks during the fall and winter ...

This is the way I want to remember my hometown, even though I don't always love the city:

Conservatory Garden, my favorite part of Central Park

The spot of many junior high and high school memories

My favorite street in NYC, 57th Street along Central Park

Christmas market at Columbus Circle

Rockefeller Center during the holidays

Washington Square Arch

Fifth Avenue

An East Village bar in March 2009

This song describes how I feel about New York City most of the time

This is the third time I will have said "farewell" to New York City with no idea of when I'll be back. I won't miss the MTA and the attitude, but when all's said and done, there's still no place like home. 

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